Oct. 3, 2012 at 3:59 PM ET
Want more friends to see your Facebook status updates? Grab your wallet.
Facebook's Abhishek Doshi explains that the social network is testing a feature which allows users to promote their personal posts for a fee. This feature was initially tested in New Zealand and several other countries over the last few months (which is why we've heard scattered reports about it), but now it's finally available in the United States.
The way these "promoted posts" work is that you click a link — labeled "promote" — under the post you're interested in highlighting. You'll be asked to fork over some amount of money, which the Verge's Ellis Hamburger says will be about $7 per post, and that's it.
"Sometimes a particular friend might not notice your post, especially if a lot of their friends have been posting recently and your story isn’t near the top of their feed." Doshi writes. When you fork over cash to highlight a post, Facebook will "bump it higher in news feed so your friends and subscribers are more likely to notice it."
It seems that the folks at Facebook aren't presenting promoted posts as something you should want to use every day. Instead the feature is intended as a way to promote significant events or posts. (Perhaps wedding announcements or posts asking folks if they saw your lost cat.)
An additional perk of paying to promote posts is that you'll be able to see some statistics about how useful the "paid views" were. I suppose this could serve as a way to prevent buyer's remorse after you fail to get a hundred comments on a post despite paying to promote it.
Businesses have been able to use the promoted posts feature for a while, to promote content from their Pages. When it comes to regular users, only those with fewer than 5,000 friends and subscribers are included in the initial test.
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